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Posts Tagged ‘kids’

My family and I are on the road to North Carolina to our next adventure.  I am in a hotel in Indiana and about to head to breakfast with the family.

My daughter is watching some sort of cartoon based on Lion King.  Supposedly the cartoon is of the descendants of Simba.  Here is something to think about:  In the movie, Lion King, Simba, the son of Mufasa eventually has a cub with Nala.  Nala is another lion within Mufasa’s pride.  If both Simba and Nala are the cubs of lionesses in Mufasa’s pride it means one thing.  Simba and Nala are half siblings.  Both of them had the same father, Mufasa.  Only one male is the father in lion groups.  This is how it works in lions.

At the end of the Lion King, the presentation of the new prince cub’s parents were brother and sister.  And a side note, but also interesting, even if Simba did take over the pride, his first order of business would be to kill every cub in the pride, so that all future cubs would be his, just as his father, Mufasa would have done.  Puts the movie in a whole new perspective, doesn’t it?

The more you know …

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I’m back from a week long vacation with the family.  It was a great time.  Scratch that, it was great the first two days, good the third day, OK on the fourth day, I’m ready to be done on the fifth, I question if I like these people the sixth day and wow, I hate you guys so much on the seventh day.  All in all, a great week.

I’m an introvert (a blog for another time), which means social interactions drain me.  It doesn’t mean that I hate being social, which is a common misconception about introverts, but as the social interactions continue, my energy levels drop.  I enjoy hanging with the family, I really do, but the need for quiet time and isolation increases as time goes by.  It is even worse when screens are not allowed on our family vacation.

No screens is the brain child of my wife, God bless her.  It is her desire for us as a family to focus on each other for a week.  As far as I can tell, she loves this concept and enjoyed the tech-free week.  And I will admit, it was good for the family and it was good for me.  I recommend it to all the families out there to spend time together unmolested by internet, Facebook, Instagram, snap chat, etc.  But for me, it’s as appealing as exercise or an enema (roll credits).  There is no doubt that exercise is good for you, but most people don’t look forward to exercising, especially if you aren’t used to it.  And don’t get me started on enemas.

But just like exercise, dieting, etc., you get to a point where it feels good.  You start to wonder why you haven’t done this sooner.  The same is true for eliminating screens from your life.  Taking a break from email, Facebook and the internet is a wonderfully cleansing activity.  But then you get home, and the TV is back, Wi-Fi is back, and it’s like at the end of a good run is a Dunkin’ Donuts and you decide, “One donut won’t hurt.”  Next thing you know, you haven’t run for years, because donuts and watching TV are way easier than exercise.  I’m not ready to give up my devices, but I love the fact that I have kids and a wife that don’t mind (or at least they fake it well, which is all I really ask) focusing on our relationships together as a family.


I was at Walmart today buying a gift for my daughter’s birthday.  Some glitter from the gift got on my face.  The cashier pointed it out to me and highly recommended that I clean it off before returning home.  I looked at her and knew exactly why she was telling me that I had glitter on my face.  I had to laugh.  Walmart, saving marriages from gross misunderstandings every day.  Where is this commercial?

 

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The family is on a no-tech holiday, more on that later. As a result, the blog will be back next week. Here is what I have planned for the future: My No Tech Vacation, Emotion vs Logic: Battle of the Titans, and a multi part series on Wisconsin. So, stay tuned. In the mean time, here is a quote that I like:

“I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone.” – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

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So, I have decided that the best way to get to know your children is to go on a road trip.  Seriously, I highly recommend it.  Granted, it will depend on the type of kids you have and how many.  With just my son and me in the car, it is quite easy.  If you add two more kids to the mix, I am sure it becomes more difficult, but with proper planning it could go quite well …  I think.

On the second leg of our trip to Colorado, we talked about sports (His topic).  Our conversation about sports got philosophical quite quickly and lasted for almost an hour.  I wanted to know why he played sports.  You see, my son is in a lot of activities.  He is in karate, he starts football in August, then wrestling, then back to karate, and if there was infinite more time and money, he would also be in swimming.  He is the best swimmer that I know.  He is a blue belt in karate and is getting quite good at his defensive line position in football.  Of course I am biased, but I believe the previous statements are accurate.

But it was the why questions that interested me the most.  I asked him about karate and if he knew why they discussed things like honor, dignity and humility.  His sensei is very old school and he trains in the Okinawan Shorin Ryu school of karate.  I asked him if he knew what that meant.  He did not, and quite frankly, neither did I, which led to a discussion on why not ask why?  This may be normal for 13-year-olds, but I found it curious.  My son does a lot of things without knowing why he is doing them.  He likes karate for the exercise.  He likes football because he has friends on the team and he has dreams of being in the NFL.  He likes swimming because I think he is part fish.  My son can stay in the water all day.  And when I say all day, I mean all day.

The why questions led us to a discussion about his school classes.  His classes are apparently stupid and he does not see their point.  We talked about the purpose of education.  I explained to him that there is still a lot that he does not know and that he is not ready to be kicked out of the house yet.  He agreed.  We talked about goals, and why it is important to have them.  We talked about life and philosophy and why there are certain rituals in his karate class.  We talked about why he never asks the ‘why’ questions.  His answer to this surprised me, it’s because no one else does.  I said, “You are right, most people don’t ask the ‘why’ questions, and if you can learn to do this, you will be a step ahead of everyone else.  It is important to ask why, especially when you don’t know the answer.”

I have no idea how my son will look back on this summer when he is older.  I hope he will look back in a positive way.  I hope I am not coming across preachy.  I hope he is not becoming skilled at tuning me out, which I am sure he does more often than I would care to admit.  But nonetheless, it was a good ride to Colorado and I learned a lot.  It makes me wonder how much we could all learn about one another if we could just periodically be stuck in a car for 16 hours.  Can’t wait until the drive home at the end of the month.  We still have a lot of topic cards left.

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One interesting thing I learned on the second leg of the trip.  My son wants to see his birthplace, Lawrence, Kansas.  As we drove through Nebraska I said look around, it’s a lot like this, except with fewer trees.  Despite my description of his birth state, he still wants to go.  So, we will be taking the long way home through Kansas.  I will just have one thing to say to my son before we embark on our Kansas journey.  Be prepared to be disappointed.  I’m just sayin’ …

Yup.  It looks just like this.

Yup. It looks just like this.

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So, I am about to talk about something that many of you will disagree with, as a matter of fact, all of my readers may disagree with what I am about to say.  However, make no mistake, I am right, I am correct, and the rest of you are wrong.  You might even dislike me for the following words, but I am OK with that, because sometimes the truth hurts.

Yesterday, I spent about an hour at my son’s preschool graduation ceremony.  Guess what?  Preschool should NOT have a graduation ceremony.  What did he have to do to graduate?  Not pee in his pants?  Although it is awesome that he no longer pisses his pants, but diploma worthy?  I don’t think so.  How about coloring in between the lines?  Able to use a spoon and fork without assistance?  Oh, here is one, he grew.  That’s right, I present this diploma to you, my son, for growing.  Good job.

Do you know when a diploma is worthy?  When there is an actual chance that you may not succeed in earning one.  For example, not everyone graduates high school.  Not everyone has a bachelor’s degree.  I am on the edge with middle school, but I will allow it.  If you are reading this right now and you are a preschool dropout, my bad, but still, no diploma for you even if you decide to go back and work towards your missing credits in “Using the potty like a big boy 101”.  My older son verbally stated his disdain for such an event at dinner.  He was severely rebuked by his step-mom for such derogatory statements towards his brother’s moment, and rightfully so.  I will have to teach him how to support our family members and only speak poorly of their accomplishments in blog form.  And even then it is only OK when the family member can’t read, so I am OK.  Don’t worry, my oldest son will get to see the highlight reel when we rewatch the edited ceremony on DVD.  Editing provided by dad, cutting out the 50 minutes of useless drivel that I hat to sit through, but well within the fatherly duties.  To all of my buddies about to be dads in the near future, they didn’t put that in the daddy brochure, did they?  Welcome to a fraternity with very low standards and high expectations.

Was I happy for my son?  Of course I was and I hope my words made him feel very special, because he is special.  Was I proud?  Of course not!  Was I to be proud of his ability to sit in a chair, sing way too many stupid songs, and walk 10 feet to pick up a fake diploma without dropping it?  I just don’t get it.  Have we gone too far in the celebration of our kids and everything they do?  When does it end?  This is beyond everyone getting participation ribbons, this is raising the bar on mediocrity and everyone is a winner.

Also, the ceremony had a long-winded speech by the director.  Here is a little lesson for everyone that may one day be involved in planning a graduation ceremony.  Now, pay attention, and do not miss the following words.  NO ONE IS HERE FOR YOU!!!  Showcase my kid, and let me leave.  As a professor, I have been to my fair share of graduation ceremonies.  Here is what is necessary, 1. Welcome  2.  Thanks to Faculty and Staff  3.  Student Speaker (five-minute limit) 4.  An invited speaker, but only if the speaker is Oprah, a funny comedian like Chris Rock, the President of the United States, or a classical reading of ‘ Oh the Places You’ll Go’ by Dr. Seuss.  Otherwise, NO invited speaker.  No one cares. 5.  Reading of student names.  NOTE: If this process takes longer than 30 minutes, the graduating class should be divided up, period.  And that’s it, done.  I say the ceremony will last an hour, tops.  SIDE NOTE:  Did you know that I was the student speaker at my graduating ceremony?  True story.  I have no memory of what I talked about and that is how important it was.

Bottom line:  Preschool graduation is stupid.  There, I said it.  It’s not that my son does not deserve recognition, but it isn’t for attending a day care for four years.  You know what makes my son great?  He has no fear and will try anything and succeed in most things beyond his age.  He is well-behaved.  He has a personality that will OWN a room.  Have you ever been in a restaurant and seen everyone bend over backwards to please a four-year-old?  I have.  He will either grow up to be President or car salesman, right now it is a toss-up.  He is doing well with his numbers and letters.  He is kind and helpful.  His intelligence has no limit and he can hit a baseball two houses down.  I am willing to give him a medal in awesomeness, but as far as I am concern, he must wait until at least the end of 8th grade to get his first real diploma.

PS – If you will be attending a graduation ceremony in the near future, I dare you to tell me I am wrong about what needs and does not need to be in a graduation ceremony.

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I spent almost two hours watching a middle school talent show last week.  Again, not in the daddy brochure.  It was mostly brutal, but my son played violin in front of a crowd of about 200, maybe more.  He did great.  I could not be prouder of him and his accomplishment.  Forty-one kids tried out for the show, but only 17 were selected.  He was the best instrumentalist in the whole show.  Unfortunately, he did not win first place in the instrumental category.  Clearly, it’s all political.  I’m just sayin …

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So, I am sick.  I have been sick for the last few days.  I have been self-medicating with non-stop drugs while at a wedding in New York just so I could be present for my friend’s celebration (more on the wedding later, as it is blog worthy).  I feel like my body is finally saying, “The wedding is over, you are back home, let’s be sick.”  And that is what I am, sick.

I have been laying in my bed for the last couple of hours.  Our bedroom is on the second floor of an open cape cod house.  You can’t hear everything from our bedroom, but you can hear a lot.  Here is what I heard:  Based on the various metal clinks, my wife was eating dinner by herself at the kitchen table.  My best guess is that getting three kids fed did not afford her the time necessary to satisfy her hunger needs.  So, she was eating in the kitchen, and the three kids were in the family room.

Brett was telling his brother and sister a story.  I could not hear the exact words of the story.  As a matter of fact, I have no idea what the story was about.  What I can tell you is that close to every two minutes, Isaac and Violet would laugh hysterically.  They were laughing hard.  The kind of laughing that forced each kid to jump up and down and you could tell that they could not stop laughing if they tried.  Then, silence, as Brett continued his story.  Once again, I could hear the metal clink of silverware as Leah ate in the kitchen.  And then, hysterical, uncontrollable laughter, but this time, one child must run around the house in a circle because of their laughter.  I have no idea what the story was about, but I do know one thing:  According to Isaac and Violet, Brett is a comedy story-telling genius.

This is one of the few advantages of having three kids, especially when the oldest is old enough to give you a parenting break.  I would love to tell you that it is due to our awesome parenting skills that has afforded us this older sibling luxury, but that would not be true.  Here is how I remember it:  Isaac is done eating.  He wants to play.  He asks his mother to play, but she is not done eating and tells him to wait.  Isaac asks me to play, but I too am not done eating, and then I say, “Why don’t you ask your brother if he will play with you.”  He does.  Brett says no.  I go talk to Brett, “Come on man!”  And the rest is history.  Later, push Violet towards them and point out how much more fun she would have playing with them, then sitting on her parents’ lap.  Add a dash of being purposely extra slow eaters, and you got yourself an after dinner break.  Many times, Leah and I actually talk to each other while we eat and the kids play.  It’s awesome!  Don’t judge us.  Unless you have kids, you don’t understand.  Besides, we are building Brett’s character.

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You know why the kids were being entertained by Brett rather than TV?  No, it is not because we are progressive parents.  Someone lost the remote.  To encourage finding the remote, Leah stated that no one watches TV till the remote is found.  I guess Brett’s love of TV is overshadowed by his hatred of actually looking for stuff.  You got to give my son credit.  Telling a story that makes a one and a half-year old girl and a five-year old boy laugh uncontrollably truly is genius.  He has made one fatal error though; he is very good at entertaining those kids.  He couldn’t get out of giving us a break if he tried, and it’s only going to get worse.  I’m just sayin’ …

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So, if you know me, you know that I am the King of Minimal Information.  For example, if I leave the house and state, “I will be back in 10 minutes.”  I am sure that your immediate reaction would be, “Where you going?”  And my immediate reaction, stated or thought, would be, “Why do you care?”  Why do you need to know where I am going?  I said I would be back in 10 minutes.  What else do you need to know?  Now keep in mind, I do not do this on purpose, it is just who I am.  For example, if you and I have a meeting, and you tell me that you need to cancel, I will not ask why.  If you want me to know, you would tell me.  Quite honestly, even if you did tell me, I would wonder why you are telling me your business.  I blame my mom for this, as she is the same way.

Well, if I am the King, then my son is the Crown Prince.  I am now in the habit of asking my son very directed questions.  If I don’t, then I learn pretty much nothing about his life.  He does not volunteer information, like his father.  So, like so many other days in the past, I pressed him about how his life was going.  I discovered that he auditioned for the talent show yesterday.  This of course did not come up in any conversation yesterday.  I also found out that he was selected to be in the talent show.  He will be playing the violin on May 18 in front of the school.  How awesome is that!?!  I wonder if he would have told me had I not asked?

When it comes to minimal information, my son has surpassed me.  The King is dead, long live the King!

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My family is hooked on Avatar: The Last Airbender.  I do not know how I never knew about this cartoon series, but it is awesome!  I love good cartoons, and I am glad that my family is hooked on it with me.  Go Aang!  If you don’t know what I am talking about, you are missing out!  You betta recognize!  I’m just sayin’ …

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